Wednesday, January 4, 2012

College Football Bowl Preview- Orange Bowl- Clemson vs. West Virginia

Wednesday January 4th- 8:30 PM EST- Clemson (10-3) (-3) vs. West Virginia (9-3) O/U 62- A pair of questionable teams with explosive offenses battle for the Orange Bowl title. West Virginia managed to win their conference title based more on the weakness of their competition than the strength of their squad. They beat literally nobody this year, with their most impressive wins coming on the road against a decent Rutgers squad in a snow storm and against a Cincy squad missing their starting QB. Clemson certainly has the more impressive victories, with two wins against Va Tech, and a pair of early home wins over Auburn and Florida St; however, they struggled dramatically toward the end of the year, losing 3 of their last 5 while averaging just 22.4 points over that span (11.2 off their season average). An injury to star frosh WR Sammy Watkins and an inability to establish the run game caused the decline in offensive production late in the season. Clemson's YPP on Offense is surprisingly average at 5.6, good for just 44th in the country; on the other hand, West Virginia impresses from a YPP perspective on both offense and defense, ranking 22nd and 17th, respectively. This can be partially attributed to the aforementioned weak schedule, but is still impressive. West Virginia is, however, average at stopping the run, ranking just 46th in the nation in YPR attempt defense.

Prediction- Clemson should be able to establish their running game this time around against a middling rush defense, and with a healthy Sammy Watkins, put up enough points to win this game. Another major factor in this game is ABABE (Always Bet Against The Big East). They always lose the big ones when asked to step up in class. Score- Clemson 38 WVA 33.

Gambling Perspective- Plays- 14-12
Leans- 12-6

Slight lean to Clemson. I think they should take this game, but the unimpressive way they finished the season and WVA's distinct YPP advantage give me pause. Play the over at 62. Although Clemson struggled offensively late in the year, the added time to prepare for the bowl game with two aggressive, fast-paced coaches, this game should reach 70.

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